The thing about science is that it is constantly evolving. Scientists don’t simply add more facts to the world. Instead, they question new evidence daily and repeatedly reexamine prior conclusions.

Science is not an end-all-be-all that we sometimes wish it would be. This makes biological and gene sciences so enthralling. New findings often feel like a treasure chest of discoveries to be uncovered.

Cannabis Science is a relatively new field. Until recently, the study of cannabis and its effect on human systems have been illegal. Because of this, essential data has been kept hidden or undiscovered. Perhaps this is why new ideas are surfacing every week in this field.

For example, researchers are now looking at the effect of Cannabis compounds on SARS COv- 2. They are particularly interested in if CBD and other cannabis compounds could be a method to combat the virus from infecting, spreading, and replicating within a human system.

This topic could potentially change the CBD market forever and assist in further controlling a global pandemic. These findings are significant and super intriguing to individuals who dedicate their livelihoods to this remarkable plant!

This post will discuss two of the most recent studies regarding cannabis use as a potential inhibitor of Covid-19.

The first Covid-19 related article that caused a buzz in the CBD community came out of Oregon State University and was published on January 10th, 2022. You can find it here. 

This study’s goal was to find compounds within the hemp plant that interact with the Covid-19 spike protein. Spike proteins are essentially the facilitators of infections. The presence of spike proteins in a cell allows Covid-19 to penetrate more cells and cause further infection. If they found that any hemp compounds bound to the spike protein, they would conclude that certain cannabinoid compounds have the potential to prevent the spike protein from entering, or infecting our cells.

This study found that two compounds in raw hemp can potentially block Covid-19 from entering human cells. Specifically, the compounds found to guard the cells against infection are CBDA and CBGA, the “precursors” or raw versions of CBD and CBG.

Before this study was published, researchers had a common understanding that CBDA and CBGA had little to no effect on human cells. CBDA and CBGA are transformed into CBD and CBG when they are “decarbed” or heated up. Decarbing is common practice for CBD manufacturers. Without this transformation through heat, there would be no CBD in the product, rendering the product incapable of providing the usual benefits we attribute to CBD.

The downfall of this study? Well, there are a couple.

  • The study was completed in isolated test tubes and not actually in human systems. The effects of CBDA and CBGA might not even work to protect further against Covid-19 inside of our bodies.
  • You need a lot of CBDA & CBGA to achieve these results in a test tube. Researchers are not even sure if it’s possible to get this high concentration inside a human body.
  • This study shows that this works in high laboratory concentrations of an isolated cell. However, it does not indicate if we can reach concentrations of these compounds inside our bodies safely or if they will even protect the cells inside the body.*

*This is why we must stay diligent and informed before deciding to use CBD as the sole protector against a virus as severe as Covid-19. Especially when advising our decision on whether or not to receive a vaccine, social distance, or wear a mask.

This study out of OSU caused quite a buzz. So much misinformation was being spread all over the internet and social media. Claims that smoking cannabis can protect against Covid-19 were on the rise. Many CBD companies advertised that their products could help protect against the virus – even when this data hasn’t been tested on humans yet.

So imagine our surprise when a new study was published on January 20th, 2022, claiming that CBD could keep Covid-19 from replicating inside the human cell, potentially stopping the virus in its tracks and ceasing the production of new variants.

That’s right; this study focused on CBD, the decarbed version of CBDA, and the compound found in all reputable CBD products. You can find this study here. 

To understand this study, we first have to understand the basics of how Covid-19 infects and replicates within our cells:

In normal circumstances, Covid-19 replicates within the cell using viral RNA, multiplying the virus across the cell and throughout the body by expressing genes that create an environment where the virus thrives. RNA is a molecule similar to DNA; it is an essential component of coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. Viral RNA codes for the benefit of the virus, acting within a cell to create an environment within the body where the virus can thrive.

When Covid-19 enters a human cell, it immediately begins to take control of the cell’s gene expression, hijacking the machinery of the infected cell and manufacturing proteins for the viral RNA to thrive on.

This study showed that CBD could eliminate the viral RNA expression inside the cell, inhibiting the virus’s ability to thrive. In addition, they determined that CBD is effective (95-99%) at inhibiting Covid-19 spike protein expression in host cells after entering the cell.

So, why is this new study so significant?

This study replicated a daily CBD user who comes into contact with Covid-19; specifically using human lung cells that were pretreated with CBD. These cells were then exposed to Covid-19. After two days, the exposed lung cells were checked for the normal reaction to the contagion viral spike protein and the cell’s viral loads were examined.

They also surveyed seizure patients who are already taking ~100mg of isolated CBD a day and seizure patients who are not taking consistent CBD. Out of 1,200 individuals. 6.2% of the individuals taking CBD contracted Covid-19, while 8.9% of individuals not taking CBD contracted the virus.

This brings up an important argument: should we use isolated CBD or full-spectrum CBD?

CBD isolate is typically used in lab and pharmaceutical settings. We have information that suggests that full-spectrum CBD provides better results because of the “entourage effect.” The entourage effect is a phenomenon that shows that a CBD product using all of the parts of hemp, or the whole plant) is much more effective than either cannabinoid used alone. We only use Full-spectrum CBD in our products because we believe in the powers of every single cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid found in this plant.

To answer this question, we would argue that full-spectrum CBD would have a more beneficial effect on the user than an isolated counterpart. Although there is no current peer-reviewed data on full-spectrum products and Covid-19, it is highly anticipated in the CBD community.

This new data shows that CBD could have an even more incredible effect on manipulating viruses than we previously thought.

We know that CBD activates a gene whose sole purpose is to respond to stress on a cellular level. We also know that CBD changes the innate immune system that we are all born with, building it up to better protect and support the body through viral exposure, including exposure to Covid-19.

Now we have evidence that CBD has the power to manipulate Covid-19, even after the virus has permeated the cell wall. Since CBD works after the virus enters the cell, it might be effective against new virus variants caused by mutations of spike proteins within the cell.

What next?

These findings are huge and impactful in cannabis science and literature. They will change how many people view and use hemp forever. However, at the moment, We should also take them with a grain of salt.

These studies have not reached human trials yet, because they are still relatively new and because human trials are often hugely expensive, complicated, and can take years to complete! There is also limited data on the amount of CBD needed daily to have any effect on Covid-19. This is why medical professionals and scientists do not yet suggest CBD as your primary method to combat Covid-19.

The good news?

Using CBD to boost the immune system, the endocannabinoid system, and to supplement your body’s innate healing abilities has been proven effective time and time again.

Rēl Hemp specializes in full-spectrum CBD. This means we use the whole plant in our products, including every single beneficial compound, terpene, and flavonoid found in hemp. In order to get the full plant benefits, it is essential to use a full-spectrum CBD product.

Supplementing daily with full-spectrum CBD tinctures, edibles, and topicals is a great way to further protect yourself against any viruses, along with washing your hands, social distancing, getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, boosting micronutrient intake, and reducing stress.

Some of our favorite ways to add CBD into our routine include incorporating full-spectrum CBD tinctures into our morning coffee or tea, using a CBD topical daily, indulging in a CBD bath once or twice a week, or having a CBD gummy once or twice a day.

We are so excited about these recent findings, and we are keeping up to date with the new data emerging every day in cannabis science. We fully expect to keep you updated if these findings are applied in a human trial and are proven to work just as well in a human system as they do in a test tube.

So, in the meantime take your CBD, take your vitamins, stay safe, and make sure to correct anyone who claims that smoking cannabis can protect them from contracting Covid-19 – it can not!

Sources:
Nguyen, Long Chi, et al. “Cannabidiol inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication through induction of the host ER stress and innate immune responses.” Science Advances (2022): eabi6110.
van Breemen, Richard B., et al. “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants.” Journal of natural products (2022).